So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. — Romans 10:17 (NRSV)
At the end of a regional church training event, a pastor asked if he could pray over me. His prayer rocked my world. He prayed as though he knew me personally, though we’d only met the day before. He said things that sounded as though God was talking directly to me. He clearly stated things that were in my heart; it was if he’d read my mind.
That prayer was mesmerizing. I wanted to pray like that. I begged him to teach me. I wanted that closeness—to know that God is speaking personally to me. Over time, he shared with me how to open my heart to listen to what God is saying.
Since that time, I continue to put this teaching into practice.
A few years ago, I was part of a district prayer team. We prayed for all the pastors of our district by name each month. As part of our time together, our team also studied listening in prayer. We were eventually asked to attend a leadership retreat at a local church. Their pastor asked us to pray for the church leaders as they closed out their day-long event.
We didn’t know any of these people personally, and there were four of us to pray over about 25 people. The four of us had prayed together in advance and asked God to speak through us. The leaders came forward to us in four lines. I have no recollection of what I prayed, but as each person came to me, I put my hands on their shoulders and asked God to speak through me as I prayed for them.
My prayer partners and I were completely spent when we finished. There was no doubt that God spoke directly to several of those for whom we’d prayed that afternoon. The four of us continue to talk about that experience; it was one of the most spiritually moving things we’d ever done.
It was invigorating. It was the first time I knew with certainty that God was speaking through me. Listening in prayer is a priority for me and when I take the time to listen, my prayer life—my conversations with God—are beyond my wildest imagination.
I’m telling you that it is absolutely possible for you to have this type of communication with God yourself! You can be this excited and confident as you talk with God. It takes a steadfast relationship with God and taking the time to listen.
There are all kinds of examples throughout the Bible of how God spoke to people. Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (NIV)
God’s voice is distinctive. God promises that we, his sheep, will hear it. Learning to hear the Lord’s voice isn’t complicated, but it requires self-discipline and a personal relationship with God. I pray that you also find joy in talking one-on-one with God.
Bobbie Smith Bryant is a native Kentuckian. She serves as a community development advisor in Kentucky. In addition to her professional work, Bobbie provides marketing and promotional assistance, as well as historic and genealogical research to Smith Farms. Bobbie Bryant is an author with four books. For more information visit www.bobbiesmithbryant.com.
While several strategies for reopening the world are being discussed, I encourage you—the people of God everywhere—to allow this season to be a formative one during which you can make new discoveries about God and increase your faith. Use this time to embark on a life of prayer, a life of study, and a life of action—involvement in the community.”